There is nothing like writing on a porch. It combines the best of two worlds. I sit on cozy furniture cushioned with piles of pillows, yet I am somehow outdoors smelling the ocean in the distance and listening to the birds serenade me. I can listen to a downpour and inhale the wetness of grass without ever getting wet.
I’ve been coming to this particular porch for the same week for more than twenty years. Even when I downsized and moved to the next town, I continued to come to my retreat on this porch. I have written portions of every book I have ever written on this porch. I have read sections aloud to trusted friends and family. This porch has become a part of me. It feels sacred and safe.
The porch changes just a little every year. The owner has the knack of decorating it and the rest of the tiny cottage with bits and pieces of Cape Cod memorabilia, which somewhere else might feel overdone but here feels perfect. There may be new curtains billowing in the breeze or an additional batch of shells on the table, but the feeling never changes. There is a contentment on this porch that is difficult to find in other places. Here, you can be you, and you can feel safe to create.
There is magic on this porch. Although I am absolutely content to be sitting here, the porch becomes a vessel that can transport me to places where my stories are set and into the heads of the characters I write about. While I love writing in libraries, there is no other place that can fill my senses as fully as on this porch.
Readers often remark about how critical setting is for a story. That also seems to be true for writers. Where I write can feel as important as where or what I am writing about. It is the milieu where I can leave behind the demons and distractions from reality and enter a place known only to me.
I am grateful to this porch, which now feels like an old friend to me. I wonder if other writers have a “spot” like mine. I would love to hear about yours if you do.